Most of the medico-legal cases arise in the hospital settings when one fails to differentiate between emergency and urgency.
Emergency- is an emergent condition requiring immediate steps and remedies.
On the other hand, Urgency requires medical attention but one can wait for few hours.
Routine care the third category can be handled under routine schedule of appointments.
It is the duty of every doctor to triage their patients on routine/urgent/emergent cases. One of the formulae which can be used is the formula of "first time, unusual, unexplained". Any symptom or sign appearing for the first time in life or/and is unusual or/and cannot be explained needs immediate attention. For example after resting if you are feeling tired you need consult or when you have headache for the first in life, you need consult. One should also be aware of life-threatening emergency situations.
A few situations are:
- Respiratory rate > 35 per minute
- Inability to speak a sentence along with breathlessness.
- Suspected heart attack chest pain (diffuse pain lasting > 30 sec in the center of the chest)
- High fever with no sweating
- Altered consciousness
- Inability to move a limb,
- Difficulty in speech,
- facial irregularity
- Any bleeding in pregnancy
- Blood in the sputum or vomiting
- First onset of seizures.
- Undefined low fever for more than three day should not be ignored.